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Nursing staff praised for ‘outstanding response’ during Stoke hospital fire

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Nurses and other staff have been praised for their response during last week’s fire at the Royal Stoke Hospital, which had a “far reaching” impact across University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust.

Patients were evacuated from the hospital in their beds on Wednesday 7 June, after a fire broke out in the main hospital building at around 6pm that was thought to have been started on purpose.

“The impact was far reaching across all our wards, departments and hospitals”

Paula Clark

The trust, a major trauma centre and acute provider for the region, declared a major incident and requested people did not attend the accident and emergency department at the Royal Stoke.

Paula Clark, chief executive of the trust, said she had written to NHS staff and emergency services “to thank them for their outstanding response to the major incident”.

“I have been fortunate to have visited some areas affected and spoken to many of the staff who were involved,” she said.

“Although the fire was contained in a small area of Royal Stoke, the impact was far reaching across all our wards, departments and hospitals,” said Ms Clark.

She described the response from the trust’s “family” of staff as “very humbling to witness”, while also thanking neighbouring hospitals for their support while the Royal Stoke was unable to accept patients.

“There are just too many individuals and teams to be able to be able to name – such was the scale of the response by our staff,” she said.

“The flexibility, professionalism and courage they showed to conduct a safe evacuation from the hospital highlighted our commitment to always put our patients first,” said Ms Clark.

She added: “As you would expect following any major incident, the trust will now undertake a review of the incident to understand what we did well and how we can improve in the future.”

Staffordshire Police announced on Friday that a man had been charged with arson after the fire at the hospital and also one at a local university.

Thomas Ashcroft, 39, of Musgrave Crescent, Sheffield, has been charged with two counts of committing arson with intent to endanger life, the police said in a statement.

Prior to the hospital blaze, at around 4.45pm, a fire broke out in toilets in the Beacon Building on Staffordshire University’s College Road campus.

Detective Inspector Phil Bryan, of Staffordshire Police, said he wanted to “reassure the community the incidents were not terrorism related”.

University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust

Nursing staff praised for ‘outstanding response’ during fire

Hilary Feeney (centre) with chief executive Paula Clark and colleagues from the Surgical Assessment Unit

A nurse who has spent her entire career working at University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust and its forerunners is due to retire after 37 years’ service.

Hilary Feeney started work at the trust at the age of 18, progressing from student nurse to work in a variety of clinical roles. She is currently a senior staff nurse on the trust’s surgical assessment unit.

SAU matron Alex Worsey said: “Hilary has committed her entire nursing career to the delivery of high-standard surgical nursing. Needless to say, during this phenomenal service she has not only moulded and supported countless student and staff nurses to positions of seniority, but there are also many senior consultants who have benefitted from her expertise, knowledge, kindness and compassion.

“Hilary’s focus has always been on the delivery of a high standard of patient care and she has been fundamental in establishing initiatives that have changed the whole focus of the way patients are nursed post-operatively following major surgery,” she said.

“She is extremely proactive in ensuring that student nurses of the future are being provided with a sound footing to embrace change and enhance personal and patient experience,” she added.


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